To everybody's surprise, it was announced today that the Festival Cinemas group has sold its remaining two theatres to Cineplex Entertainment. As of March 1, both the Fifth Avenue Cinemas and Park Theatre will belong to the Toronto-based exhibitor, adding to its 134 theatres across the country.
Leonard Schein and partner Tom Lightburn of Festival Cinemas have elected to retire. On February 3, they dimmed the lights for the last time at the majestic Ridge Theatre.
Executive Vice President Michael Kennedy said that Cineplex was committed to continuing the indie, foreign and arthouse fare that characterized Festival's programming. We can only hope Cineplex keeps its word, though the response in Vancouver has been a little skeptical, so far.
"Gut reaction," tweeted Vancity Theatre programmer Tom Charity, "another disaster for Vancouver's cultural well being."